The Uber driver who took 23-year-old poet, Bappadittya Sarkar, to a Mumbai police station after he overheard the poet's phone conservation about anti-CAA protest was suspended for 72-hours, reports have confirmed. While Uber suspended this account, Mumbai BJP president MP Lodha on Saturday felicitated the driver for reporting the poet to the cops.
The cab aggregator temporarily blocked the account of the driver, Rohit Singh, while it investigates the incident further. Sarkar told The Indian Express, “They (Uber) called me today and said the driver partner’s account has been temporarily barred. They are also waiving off the charge that was levied for the trip.”
“Your safety is something we take seriously and we would not want you to pay for the inconvenience caused,” Uber told the poet.
Meanwhile, a BJP MLA MP Lodha, conferred "Alert Citizenship Award" on Gaur at the Santacruz police station on Saturday. Lodha also accused the poet-activist of hatching an "anti-national conspiracy" against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
"Rohit Gaur....who handed over the Uber taxi passenger devising anti-national conspiracy against the citizenship amendment act. Felicitated Rohit Gaur on behalf of the people of Mumbai calling him at the Santa Cruz Police Station and gave alert citizen award," Lodha tweeted. He also shared pictures showing him felicitating Gaur.
रोहित गौर.... नागरिकता संशोधन कानून के खिलाफ राष्ट्र विरोधी षड्यंत्र कर रहे उबर टैक्सी यात्री को जिन्होंने पुलिस को सौंपा। रोहित गौर को सांताक्रुज पुलिस थाने में बुलाकर मुंबई की जनता की ओर से उनका अभिनंदन किया एवं अलर्ट सिटिज़न अवार्ड से सम्मानित किया। pic.twitter.com/hct3ReNjgK
— Mangal Prabhat Lodha (@MPLodha) February 8, 2020
Sarkar, a resident of Jaipur who arrived in Mumbai on 3 February for a poetry reading session at the Kala Ghoda Festival, also took part in the ongoing anti-CAA-NRC protest at Nagpada in Mumbai.
On Wednesday night, while travelling by an Uber cab, he was discussing protests against the CAA with a friend on phone. Overhearing the chat, the cab driver summoned policemen and urged them to arrest Sarkar. Sarkar was taken to a police station and allowed to leave after an inquiry.
The driver allegedly told Sarkar that he should be thankful that he took him to the police station and not somewhere else. Sarkar later commented that the driver's aggressive behaviour and violent language reflected the atmosphere in the country. The 23-year-old poet also said that despite the ordeal he faced, he was not going to lodge a complaint against the driver as it might ruin his career and life.
Sarkar said he was living at a friend's place in Kurla, but shifted to Andheri after the incident. "When our fight is only of thoughts, then we have to understand from where violence stems and how," he said.
"I am a student and love to write poems and create slogans and saying them. I could have stayed at my home when protests are going on across the country. But I have a responsibility to come out of the home for our people and our country," he added.
Before coming to Mumbai, Sarkar had also participated in the protests in Shaheen Bagh in Delhi and Jaipur. When asked whether he plans to take any action against the driver, Sarkar said that he does not want to ruin anybody's life.
"Uber should help the driver and give him counselling and therapy and send him for rehabilitation. His career should not be spoilt," he said. "There can be differences of opinion and people like me work for the whole society," he said.
Right after the incident came into light, Sakar had got a call from Uber and the company condemned the incident saying whatever their driver did was not right and they are taking action.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Feb 08, 2020 16:00:58 IST